“Doctors compelled to undergo training against their will”

A government doctor has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court Bench alleging that the State government was compelling medical practitioners possessing MBBS degrees to undergo a Life Saving Anaesthetic Skill (LSAS) training course that leads to a certification authorising them to administer general anaesthesia and spinal anaesthesia to obstetrics and gynaecology patients.

Admitting the writ petition filed by P.P. Ramajeyam, an Assistant Surgeon recruited to Tamil Nadu Medical Service through the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission and posted to work at Government Hospital, Peraiyur, in Madurai district, Justice K. Venkataraman directed a government counsel to take notice on behalf of the Joint Director of Health Services and other official respondents.

According to the petitioner, the LSAS training, spanning for 24 weeks, covered all aspects of clinical anaesthesia and basic sciences. The trainees should complete 100 cases of spinal anaesthesia, 30 cases of general anaesthesia, 10 cases of epidural anaesthesia, and 10 cases of laryngeal mask insertion apart from cardio pulmonary circulatory resuscitation (CPCR) and cannulation on mannequins.

“Though the LSAS is only an optional training, all the government doctors with MBBS degrees are being compelled to participate in the training without getting their willingness… I never sent any application to undergo LSAS training. But without any application and without my consent, I was directed by the Joint Director to join LSAS training at Madurai Medical College,” he claimed.

His counsel C. Arulvadivel alias Sekar contended that such a training was ultra vires to the Constitution and contrary to the provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, and the Indian Medical Degrees Act, 1916, and was being given to government doctors without the permission of Medical Council of India. “As per medial norms and ethics, a doctor should not practice in a branch of medicine without possessing statutorily prescribed qualification relevant to that branch. The certificate issued after the completion of LSAS training is not statutorily prescribed qualification to give anaesthesia to patients,” the petitioner's affidavit read.